By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has slammed the Akwa Ibom state lawmakers for passing N14m Pension Bill proposed by the state Governor Godswill Akpabio for former deputy governors and governors, describing it as a waste of public funds.
The body also called on the National Assembly to use its extant powers to reverse the passage of the Bill by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly.
NLC, in a statement issued yesterday by its National President, Abdulwaheed Omar, said the recent passage within eleven days, of the Bill, entitled; ‘Former Governors and Deputy Governors Pension Bill 2014’ by the Akwa Ibom state House of Assembly, which makes it possible for the governor to draw a pension allowance of N140m annually, is as shocking as it is absurd.
“We, at the Nigeria Labour Congress believe it is a perfect example of how not to make a law and a clear demonstration of what the electorate have always feared, that most states’ Houses of Assembly are in the pockets of the governors, thus defeating the principle of checks and balances in the polity.
“In a state where pension benefits of retired civil servants have not been fully paid in accordance with the provisions of the National Minimum Wage, and pensions of some categories of the state employees, especially teachers, health workers and local government employees have not been harmonized, it is totally unacceptable and absolutely abhorrent to fix the pension benefit of the governor (in spite of countless advantages and perquisite of office) in this manner.
“It is a demonstration of unbridled power and callous disdain for the ordinary citizen who deserves a better life from those he elected into office. The fact that the state has evidently witnessed infrastructural improvement under the watch of Mr. Godswill Akpabio is no justification for this level of greed, waste and self aggrandizement”, NLC said.
The statement further said that there was no end to infrastructural or service upgrade as a process for improving the quality of life for the people, which ultimately impacts on the national economy.
“He has done his bit, by building on the effort of his predecessor, Obong Victor Attah. Those coming after him will also do theirs. There is no end to this cycle.
It is therefore economically illogical and politically suicidal to so commit the state’s meager resources to oiling the personal estates of people upon whom so much has been vested already”, it further stated.